Every day this week I will be posting favorite scenes from the Kate Daniels series. I’d love it if you’d share your favorite scenes too. Be sure to check back in Friday for a look at Magic Triumphs and a chance to win a book from the series. Be aware there are spoilers in here so if you haven’t read the series, continue at your own risk.
In book three, Magic Strikes, friendship once again takes precedence when Kate not only jumps head first into Pack politics when a member and her pseudo little brother/unwanted bodyguard, Derek, is severely injured but also decides to help her bestie, Andrea, with her love life.
As I’ve stated before, friendship is very important to Kate. Having been forbidden from having any growing up, friends are a rare and valuable commodity in Kate’s world and she would do anything for them. Andrea is a Knight of the Order. In Magic Burns, Kate discovers Andrea is beastkin and solidifies their friendship by telling Andrea it doesn’t matter who or what she is. She will ALWAYS be Kate’s friend first. Raphael is a bouda who helps Kate save Andrea’s life when she is stuck in mid-shift. It’s love at first sight but Andrea has ‘issues’ and Raphael is not used to being told no.
“Can you believe it?”
I looked in the direction of her stare and saw Raphael. The werehyena loitered across the street, a tall man with coal-black hair, dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt. His hands were thrust in his pockets and he shouldered a backpack. He saw us looking at him and froze.
That’s right – you’re so busted.
“I think he’s stalking me.” Andrea glared.
I waved at Raphael and motioned him over.
“What are you doing?” Andrea ground out through clenched teeth. Her face went pale, and I could almost see the faint outlines of spots on her arms.
Raphael attempted a weak smile and headed toward us, zeroing in on Parthenon’s doors.
“I want to find out if he knows anything about the Midnight Games. He’ll tell me anything if you let him sit with us. I think he really likes you.”
An understatement of the year. Raphael carried a huge torch for Andrea. During the flare, when she nearly died, he had bent over backward to take care of her.
“Yeah.” Andrea loaded so much scorn into one word, I actually paused.
This was one of those thin-ice areas of friendship, which had a great potential for dumping me into freezing water. “You really don’t like him?”
A shadow crossed Andrea’s face. “I don’t want to be his TWT-IHFB.”
“What does that mean?”
“That Weird Thing I Haven’t Fucked Before.”
I choked on a bite of gyro.
Andrea got up. “I’m going to get some dessert. Kate, you want anything?”
“No,” I said.
“No, thank you,” Raphael said.
She marched away.
Raphael looked at me. “What am I doing wrong?”
I paused with a piece of pita bread in my hand. “You’re asking me?”
“I don’t have anybody else to ask. You know her. You’re friends.”
“Raphael, I’ve never had a steady boyfriend in my entire life. It’s been over a year since I’ve had sex. And you know how well my last attempt at a love life turned out. I think you were there, weren’t you?”
“Yeah. I was the one with the shotgun.”
I nodded. “I think we can agree that I’m the worst person you could ask about how to fix a romantic relationship. I don’t know what to tell you.”
“You know Andrea.”
“Not that well.”
Raphael looked crestfallen. “It’s never taken me this long,” he said quietly.
I sympathized. He had pined after Andrea for two months now. For a werehyena, or bouda as they were called, a courtship that long was unheard of. Boudas were adventurous. They enjoyed sex, a lot of it and with a variety of partners. Women dominated the bouda pack, and from what I understood, Raphael was rather popular, both because of his patience and his status as the son of Aunt B, the boudas’ alpha. And his looks guaranteed that he wouldn’t have to chase nonshapeshifter women for too long before they took him for a test-drive.
Unfortunately, Andrea was not a nonshapeshifter woman, nor was she a bouda. Lyc-V, the virus responsible for the shapeshifter phenomenon, affected animals as well as humans. In very rare cases, the resulting creature was an animal-were, a being who started its life as an animal and gained the ability to turn into a human. Most animal-weres turned out to be sterile, mentally retarded, and violent, but occasionally one could function in a human society well enough not to be killed outright. And even more occasionally they could procreate.
Andrea was a beastkin, a child of a hyenawere and a bouda. She hid it from everyone: from the shapeshifters, because some would kill her owing to an ancient deep-seated prejudice, and from the Order, because the moment they realized she was a shapeshifter, they would jettison her from the ranks. Technically, as a shapeshifter, Andrea was subject to Curran’s power, and the Order demanded absolute loyalty. So far Curran hadn’t pressed the issue, but he could change his mind any moment.
As far as I knew, only the bouda clan within the Pack, Curran, Jim, Derek, Doolittle, and I knew what Andrea was. And we all quietly conspired to keep it that way without ever actually discussing the subject.
“You really want some advice?” I asked.
“Try to think less like a bouda and more like a man.”
He bristled. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? Bouda is what I am.”
I wiped the last smudge of tzatziki off my plate with my bread. “She’s a knight of the Order.
Only one in eight who enroll into the Order’s Academy makes it to graduation. She’s worked very hard at being a human. Be her friend. Talk to her. Find out what books she reads, what guns she likes . . . Speaking of books, I can tell you something specific about Andrea, but it will cost you.”
“What do you need?”
“The Midnight Games. Everything you know.”
“Easy enough.” Raphael grinned. “You go first.”
“How do I know you’ll pay up?”
“Andrea’s coming up the stairs. I can hear her. Please, Kate.” He did his version of puppy eyes, and I almost fell out of my chair.
“Fine.” Kate Daniels, trained negotiator. When in possession of some valuable information, give it away to the first sexy man you see with no guarantee of return. “Lorna Sterling. She writes paranormal romances. Andrea loves her with unholy love. She has a stack of her books under her desk at work. She’s missing numbers four and six.”
Raphael pulled a pen out of his backpack and scribbled on his forearm. “Lorna?”
“Sterling. Books four and six. Andrea’s been haunting that bookstore on the corner for weeks looking for them.”
Andrea emerged from the door, carrying a milk shake and a plate of sliced peaches. The pen vanished into Raphael’s backpack.
I leveled my hard stare at Raphael. “Give.”
“The Midnight Games are forbidden,” he said. “By the direct order of the Beast Lord, no member of the Pack may participate, aid, or bet on the Midnight Games.”
“That’s it? That’s all you got?”
He shrugged. There was more to it; I could tell by his face. He was holding out on me.
Bastard. I looked at Andrea. Help me.
She took a peach, bit a tiny piece from it, and licked her lips slowly. Raphael did a stunning impression of a pointer sighting a pheasant.
“How come they’re forbidden? Is there a story behind it?” Andrea bit another piece of peach and licked her lips again.
“Yes, there is,” Raphael murmured. I almost felt sorry for him. I wonder if that would work with . . . I grabbed that thought and stomped on it before it had a chance to infect my head with nonsense.